asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is in a position to state how many young men have volunteered for work in the coalmines who would otherwise have had to go in the Services and whether any part of the country has shown a marked preference for colliery work?
I have been asked to reply. Up to 25th September, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of men who had volunteered for work in the coalmines as an alternative to service in the Forces, and had been placed in coalmines, numbered 3,366. An additional number volunteered but subsequently withdrew their offers. There is no evidence of any marked preference for coalmining as against service in the Forces in any part of the country.
When men volunteer for coalmining are they allowed a preference for any particular part of the coalfield, or do they have to go wherever they are directed, whether they want to or not?
I could not answer that without notice, but I think they go where they can best be used.